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Hillsborough Co. School District set to finalize reopening plans

Coronavirus

TAMPA (WFLA) – Hillsborough County Schools Superintendent Addison Davis has recommended to the Hillsborough County School Board to delay the start of 2020-21 school year by two weeks until Aug. 24.

When welcoming back students to schools there’s a lot to consider.

“It’s about transportation. It’s about food services. It’s about controlled movement,” said Superintendent Addison Davis to 8 On Your Side’s Marco Villarreal. “That list goes on. How are you going to place teachers? What are you going to do from the curriculum side? What are you going to do for digital divide?

The school year was scheduled to start Aug. 10.

Davis said in a statement:

“This school year presents unprecedented challenges because of COVID-19, and we’re so pleased that two of the area’s preeminent medical institutions have agreed to collaborate with us to provide the safest back-to-school environment possible. The unpredictability of this virus makes the recommendations and expertise from medical experts invaluable for HCPS as we look to reopen our doors carefully to our students, teachers, and staff. We look forward to collaborating with them to clarify safety procedures and actively communicate expectations prior to the start of a new school year.”

Davis’ announced the decision just hours after Gov. Ron DeSantis met with state education leaders in Dover to talk about reopening schools. During the meeting, DeSantis said he believes schools will be able to open safely next month.

“I know they are working hard for ways to have a safe environment. I am confident it can be done. I have seen it done,” he said.

The news comes following similar announcements by Sarasota, Manatee, and Polk counties.

“I think that if it starts to go up and we see it go in the wrong direction than our conversations go deeper. More than just starting at a different date,” said Superintendent Davis.

This recommendation will need to be approved by the school board along with collaboration with HCTA. Superintendent Davis will present his School Reopening Plan on Thursday at 1 p.m. during the school board workshop. It will be held in the board auditorium at 901 East Kennedy Boulevard in Tampa.

The district will hold a special called school board meeting July 23rd. The board will vote on whether or not to delay the start of the school year.

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